After months of testing, U.S. Special Operations Command is officially picking up a cache of fresh Mk 22 Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) sniper rifles from Barrett.
Barrett announced on Friday that the company has received an initial production order from SOCOM and plans on commencing deliveries as soon as January 2021.
SOCOM awarded a $49.9 million contract to Barrett to adopt the MRAD — chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum with the help of a conversion kit — under the command’s Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) program back in March 2019.
Since then, the MK22 “has completed all aspects of the Production Qualification Testing and Operational Testing phases,” Barrett said in a statement.
Based on the Barrett 98B sniper rifle and first developed in 2013 as a contender for U.S. Special Operations Command’s Precision Sniper Rifle program, the MRAD was initially passed over by SOCOM in favor of Remington Arms’ Modular Sniper Rifle.
As Task & Purpose previously reported, both the Army and Marine Corps included requests to adopt the MRAD themselves as their primary sniper systems of choice as part of their fiscal year 2021 budget requests.
The Army wants to purchase 536 MRAD sniper systems for roughly $10.13 million under its own Precision Sniper Rifle program to replace both of the service’s M107 sniper rifle and M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle systems, according to budget justification documents.
The Marine Corps wants to purchase 250 MRAD sniper systems under SOCOM’s ASR program for roughly $4 million to “replace all current bolt-action sniper rifles” currently used by the service, according to budget justification documents.
Both the Army and Marine Corps say the rifle offers greatly extended range and effectiveness than current sniper systems in a significantly lighter weight package.
In particular, the Marine Corps in budget documents touted the MRAD’s capacity to chamber a “wider variety of special-purpose ammunition than current systems” as a major selling point.